Effective Parents Act Like They know What They Are Doing

I’ve said it before, but it cannot be said often enough: The discipline of a child is not accomplished by manipulating reward and punishment.
Yes, a child needs to understand that behavior results in consequences, but that understanding alone is not sufficient to grow a well-behaved, well-mannered child.
Besides, whereas proper consequences will virtually guarantee proper behavior in a dog, proper consequences do not guarantee proper behavior in a child, or human of any other age, for that matter. If they did, no criminal would spend more than one, maybe two, stints in jail.
Discipline is the process by which parents transform a child into a disciple, a little person who will look up to them, follow their lead and subscribe to their values. This is accomplished through proper leadership.
The most important of all leadership qualities is decisiveness. All effective leaders act like they know what they are doing. They act like they believe sincerely in the rightness of their decisions. In parenting, this translates to standing behind one’s instructions to a child, enforcing rules dispassionately and proving to a child that “no” means “no.”
As I’ve said before, I have taken to challenging parents in recent audiences to assess their leadership. I ask them to raise their hand if their kids know that without a doubt that: rules will be enforced and that “no” means “no.” In a recent audience of some 200 parents, only five responded affirmatively.
I then ask, “Now raise your hand if as a child you knew, beyond a shadow of doubt, that your parents were going to enforce their instructions ” In that same audience, some 150 hands went up. I see this again and again across the country.
This exercise tells why today’s children come to school considerably less disciplined that children of even 20 years ago. I’ve never heard an experienced teacher testify to the contrary.
This is why today’s parents are having so many more problems in the area of discipline that did their parents, and certainly their grandparents. It is not because they are not manipulating consequences as skillfully.
Rather, it is because they are not demonstrating to their children that when they speak, they mean exactly what they say.
Yesteryear’s parents were apt to simply tell their children to pick up their toys. Today’s parents are apt to ask their children if they will please pick up their toys, “OK?”
Today’s parents, in the face of their children’s emotional dramatics, are likely to demonstrate to their children that sufficient displays of emotional dramatics on their parts will result in “no” changing to “oh, all right!”
From some corners, the du jour explanation for a child who tests every instruction and every rule with the full might of his or her free will, is that an inherited chemical imbalance causes knee-jerk resistance to authority.
Supposedly, the child has oppositional defiant disorder and/or childhood bipolar disorder. Concrete verification of this proposition is lacking, but as recent audiences of mine have demonstrated, proof abounds that many, if not most, of today’s parents are suffering from leadership deficiency disorder.
This is the simpler explanation, and I tend to believe that the simpler explanation is generally the best.
If true, then this is great and wonderful news.
While parents can’t alter their children’s genotypes or brain chemistry, they can look up from this column and resolve to begin changing themselves into proper leaders of children who mean what they say.
John Rosemond-April 9, 2020

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.